Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Gordon Robinson | Who let the awful abbreviations out?

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2017 | 5:00 AM

I was amazed that so many readers, especially lawyers, took the time to personally congratulate me on my mini-bio of Vanderpump J. ('Pumpy'), whose essence they said I captured perfectly.

Since every word I wrote was true, I had no problem accepting the 'essence' part of the congratulatory messages. But I still find it hard to believe, even after nine years, as many are reading as is reported, and, more important, understanding the message that I've always insisted on transmitting in my own way. Mark you, the nitpickers haven't surrendered. For example, a recent tweet (May 16 from @Gordonswaby):

"Why doesn't the Gleaner edit Gordon Robinson's articles? Or is 'DWL' 'LMFAO' 'FYI' etc now appropriate for a newspaper?"

Since @Gordonswaby isn't among the persons I follow on Twitter (my loss, I'm sure), I didn't see the tweet when it was posted. Thanks to Twitter's cessation of email notifications of tweets mentioning me and my recent hectic schedule, I only became aware when Dennis Jones (@dennisgjones), someone I've followed long before he became a talk-show 'cebrelity' (my word; don't bow to @Gordonswaby; don't 'edit') on podcast, radio and TV, retweeted the message with the following added request:

"Gordon, as in @TheTerribleTout, will you be selling tickets for the public rebuttal of Gordon, as in @Gordonswaby? I'd like 2, please :)"

Dennis, come early; bring your superior half; present your tickets at the gate for authentication because scalpers have been making a 'fartrune' selling fake tickets (DWL!); be prepared to submit to security checks because my bulletproof vest can only stop so many projectiles and won't protect me from the sort of treatment I'd be accustomed to were I a performer at Sting (LMFAO!). Dress code is casual (golf shorts allowed), but take your seat quickly and don't blink because, like the second Ali-Liston fight, you might miss the entire thing.

 

DON'T BE SHY, TURN THE PAGE

 

FYI, @Gordonswaby, the short answer to your second question is 'yes'. You'll have to direct your first question to The Gleaner, but it's possible that, after I've self-edited my own columns at least five times before submitting each, there's precious little left to edit. The only reason you're so offended by my style is because it's mine, not The Gleaner's. 'Smutty' Perkins always advised upset listeners to turn the radio off or change the station. I make a similar suggestion to @Gordonswaby. Don't be shy. To avoid affront from awful acronyms, simply turn the page.

But the real reply to @Gordonswaby came (unwittingly) from another reader ('Princess Thom'), who wrote, in an email forwarded to me a day before I saw @Gordonswaby's complaint:

"I'm an avid Tuesday reader of your Sunday articles. I'm a hotel worker. Tuesday is usually my day off. I find your articles just as refreshing two days later. I love that you can write about issues in a way that the regular man can understand. Keep writing sense!"

I'll try, my sister. Many thanks for the encouragement. You see, @Gordonswaby, as much as old fuddy-duddies like you and me might resist manfully (women tend to get on board the common-sense train earlier), everything, including language and communication, evolves. If you want to be heard by the people, you had better speak their language. What you and I, as children, were taught by Emily Post to be 'etiquette' or 'proper' has also evolved. I admire icons like Fae Ellington, Marcia Forbes and Jean Lowrie-Chin, who've all embraced the modern way of communication.

'Appropriate', according to the Oxford Dictionary (of which I'm sure @Gordonswaby approves), means "suitable, acceptable or correct for the particular circumstances". What are current circumstances? The world moves faster than Usain Bolt since the Internet's intrusion, and everybody's schedule includes multiple action items. This has infected us all with attention deficit disorder 'appropriately' treated by Twitter by forcing us to think and write concisely.

Also, if I may be so presumptuous as to speak from The Gleaner's perspective for a moment, every newspaper operates in worship of the God of space whose sole commandment is, "Thou shalt not exceed thy word count limit." If I were Gleaner Opinion Editor Andre Wright (apologies to Andre's wife and Gleaner subeditor, Shaunette, for the spinal shivers) and had to suffer a grumpy, anal, antisocial, iconoclastic columnist like me who regularly exceeds the limit out of spite, I'd be overjoyed to see him use FYI (one word) instead of 'for your information' (three); DWL, instead of 'I'm laughing uncontrollably' and so on, and so fifth!

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.